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#81717 - 12/21/10 11:38 PM Whitney Portal snow camp TR/pics - 12/19/10
luciano137 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/09/10
Posts: 129
Loc: OC, CA
With the strongest storm in a decade in the forecast, we figured it would be a good time to go test our snow camping skills and gear, so we went for an overnighter at the portal :-). We hiked in Sunday noon and back out on Monday.

Sunday noon we parked around the 7k level where it was raining; we figured that would be a good spot since the forecast didn't call for a snow level much lower than 8k. With only about 12 inches in the forecast for the portal, we ditched the snow shoes as well. We made quick time up to the Meysan Lakes area where the snow had become deeper quickly in the last quarter mile. There we were greeted by Dotty who owns one of the cabins up there. She invited us in for a hot cup of chocolate; her husband had gone down the road to park the car lower at the "road closed" sign to avoid getting stuck in the snow.

After some chatting, we continued our trek up to the portal, now through a few feet of powder but still pretty easygoing. We dug our tentsite in the middle of the road away from any trees and avalanche prone areas (which we heard all the way through the night). It kept snowing non-stop and we had a feeling this forecast was way off; we woke up to at least 4 feet of new snow. In places it was now up to shoulder level and our trench from the day before was gone! We kinda wished we had our snow shoes now but they probably would've been dead weight anyway since at least the upper elevations had WAY too much snow. We alternated the strenuous task of shoveling our way down the road. Shortly after Meysan Lakes, we spotted Dotty and Graham following our trench (they were probably worried about getting stuck at the cabin). It took us about 8.5h to make the 2.5mi down to the car. Unfortunately the snow level was more like 5k and the car was covered by at least 3 feet of snow. We contemplated sleeping in the car but the idea of a bed in Lone Pine sounded much more appealing. We called a few peops and Doug offered to pick us up at the Lone Pine campground since he didn't think he could get much higher through the snow. We made quick time to the campground and soon were in the warmth of the hostel (thanks Doug). I was a little worried about Dotty and Graham since they were far behind us and it was now dark. We later heard they only made it to their car at 4am! So, it took them about 16h! My hat off for perseverance. Unfortunately their car was stuck as well; Doug picked them up a few hours later.

All in all we had a great trip (except for being down a car :-). Our main challenge was probably staying dry because it snowed non-stop.

The pictures can be found here.


Edited by luciano137 (12/22/10 10:27 AM)

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#81719 - 12/22/10 02:19 AM Re: Whitney Portal snow camp TR/pics - 12/19/10 [Re: luciano137]
QITNL Offline
Member

Registered: 04/16/09
Posts: 33
Loc: CA
Nice TR & picts. Two cents: write it up more SUPER EPIC awesome We Were Gonna Die 1116666!!! Send it to Chris Mac's joint and print.

Good one. Damn, I missed it!

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#81721 - 12/22/10 07:15 AM Re: Whitney Portal snow camp TR/pics - 12/19/10 [Re: luciano137]
Richard P. Offline
Member

Registered: 06/26/03
Posts: 4873
Loc: Ridgecrest, CA
Man, that is nice to see!

Good ole Doug...

I hope the WPS roof doesn't collapse under the weight of all that new snow.

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#81722 - 12/22/10 07:36 AM Re: Whitney Portal snow camp TR/pics - 12/19/10 [Re: Richard P.]
KevinR Offline
Member

Registered: 05/27/07
Posts: 585
Loc: Inyokern, now NH
When I read something like this, I think "Wow! Just missed the Darwin Award nominations!"

And yes, thank god for Doug.

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#81723 - 12/22/10 07:59 AM Re: Whitney Portal snow camp TR/pics - 12/19/10 [Re: KevinR]
Scott L Offline
Member

Registered: 10/11/05
Posts: 144
Loc: Altadena, CA
Originally Posted By: KevinR
When I read something like this, I think "Wow! Just missed the Darwin Award nominations!"

And yes, thank god for Doug.


How does camping in the snow equate to dying due to natural selection?

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#81724 - 12/22/10 08:58 AM Re: Whitney Portal snow camp TR/pics - 12/19/10 [Re: luciano137]
quillansculpture Offline
Member

Registered: 04/04/09
Posts: 236
Loc: CA
Those pics were awesome!!! I wish I could just get up there to walk through that stuff. Thanks for sharing. Beautiful.
_________________________

"Turtles, Frogs & other sculpture raised in a Gallery-friendly Environment"

http://www.quillansculpturegallery.com

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#81726 - 12/22/10 09:05 AM Re: Whitney Portal snow camp TR/pics - 12/19/10 [Re: quillansculpture]
Rick Kent Offline
Member

Registered: 05/23/03
Posts: 587
Loc: Bakersfield, CA
Good stuff!

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#81733 - 12/22/10 10:26 AM Re: Whitney Portal snow camp TR/pics - 12/19/10 [Re: KevinR]
luciano137 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/09/10
Posts: 129
Loc: OC, CA
Originally Posted By: KevinR
When I read something like this, I think "Wow! Just missed the Darwin Award nominations!"

And yes, thank god for Doug.


Jealous smile ?

We had all the gear and skills to be out there for a few days, so I don't see the big deal. If we would not have gotten ahold of Doug, we would've slept in the car and walked to town in the morning. It was an exercise in a controlled environment, that's all. Sure, you can read a book on how to drive a car but can you really?

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#81734 - 12/22/10 10:30 AM Re: Whitney Portal snow camp TR/pics - 12/19/10 [Re: quillansculpture]
BiletChick Online   content
Member

Registered: 06/23/09
Posts: 391
Loc: Bishop, CA
Hey Joe
We might get out to Baldy this weekend and/or next...you game?

Stacy
_________________________
UPDATE: Recently moved to Bishop, so my mind and body are now in the Sierras...for GOOD!


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#81735 - 12/22/10 10:46 AM Re: Whitney Portal snow camp TR/pics - 12/19/10 [Re: luciano137]
Mark Irving Offline
Member

Registered: 04/29/07
Posts: 138
Loc: Redondo Beach
So are you going to pick up your car after the spring thaw?
We did this same trip for the same reasons back in 2008 and it was fun to get up there and experience some weather while still not getting too far up in the backcountry where it would be more committing. We only got about a foot of snow though, not 4 feet.

For a comparison:

Portal pictures 2008



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#81736 - 12/22/10 10:58 AM Re: Whitney Portal snow camp TR/pics - 12/19/10 [Re: luciano137]
Tracie B Offline
Member

Registered: 10/11/07
Posts: 783
Loc: Behind the Orange Curtain, Cal...
Is that an Integral Design Tent?

Very cool pics. I'm glad those people with the cabin got out okay

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#81739 - 12/22/10 11:03 AM Re: Whitney Portal snow camp TR/pics - 12/19/10 [Re: Mark Irving]
luciano137 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/09/10
Posts: 129
Loc: OC, CA

Awesome pics!! The car isn't very far up, so a few sunny days in a row should melt it enough to get out. Luckily it's AWD with good clearance. If not, we'll just have to dig a trench ourselves LOL We have some practice now :-)

Originally Posted By: Mark Irving
So are you going to pick up your car after the spring thaw?
We did this same trip for the same reasons back in 2008 and it was fun to get up there and experience some weather while still not getting too far up in the backcountry where it would be more committing. We only got about a foot of snow though, not 4 feet.

For a comparison:

Portal pictures 2008





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#81740 - 12/22/10 11:08 AM Re: Whitney Portal snow camp TR/pics - 12/19/10 [Re: Tracie B]
luciano137 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/09/10
Posts: 129
Loc: OC, CA
Originally Posted By: Tracie B
Is that an Integral Design Tent?

Very cool pics. I'm glad those people with the cabin got out okay


It's the Black Diamond Firstlight. We also used a vestibule (would've been impossible without) but it's already taken down in the pic.

I'm glad they made it out as well. It would've been much harder without our track.

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#81772 - 12/23/10 07:25 PM Re: Whitney Portal snow camp TR/pics - 12/19/10 [Re: luciano137]
lacrosse Offline
Member

Registered: 06/08/09
Posts: 73
Loc: California
luciano137 - you probably know about the trick of attaching cords
to the front of snow shoes and adding your arm strength to lift
the deeply buried item.
Works with skis also if a convenient hole exists in the tip.
Unfortunate that your shoes were in the vehicle at 7K.

In that situation I wonder if I'd not cut branches and make some crude Alaskan size 56" x 10" snowshoes and with the cord trick to aid lifting the shoes march the hell out of there? Lots of bushes by the creek = raw building material.

Good TR. I also sleep more soundly once the tent is buried
and the noise of sliding snow is silenced. Luxury!










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#81775 - 12/23/10 08:03 PM Re: Whitney Portal snow camp TR/pics - 12/19/10 [Re: lacrosse]
luciano137 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/09/10
Posts: 129
Loc: OC, CA
Originally Posted By: lacrosse
luciano137 - you probably know about the trick of attaching cords
to the front of snow shoes and adding your arm strength to lift
the deeply buried item.
Works with skis also if a convenient hole exists in the tip.
Unfortunate that your shoes were in the vehicle at 7K.


Interesting idea. Never tried that before. Usually the snow is somewhat consolidated that it's not much of a problem. This was kind of an unusual situation. We knew we took a risk not bringing the snow shoes but the distance was short enough we knew we'd get down no matter what.

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#81779 - 12/23/10 09:22 PM Re: Whitney Portal snow camp TR/pics - 12/19/10 [Re: luciano137]
DobeMom Offline
Member

Registered: 08/24/09
Posts: 143
Loc: Palmdale, CA
Here's what the road looked like today:


No vehicle had made it to the parking area by the "road closed" sign.

About 100 yards below the Bogart turn:
_________________________
My SmugMug Photos

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#81780 - 12/23/10 11:25 PM Re: Whitney Portal snow camp TR/pics - 12/19/10 [Re: DobeMom]
luciano137 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/09/10
Posts: 129
Loc: OC, CA

Thanks for the pics! It was dark by the time we passed through there. Looks like it will take a while before that is melted out.

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#81797 - 12/24/10 05:27 PM Re: Whitney Portal snow camp TR/pics - 12/19/10 [Re: luciano137]
Ethan Offline
Member

Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 2
Loc: SC
thanks for the pics. has anyone been in the backcountry lately? I figured all the weather has kept people in., but I was wondering what the snow pack is like up there. Coming out this coming week to possibly do Mountaineer's Route but the weather looks like its declining and I am unsure of conditions with all this new powder. any updates would be great! thanks.

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#81798 - 12/24/10 05:55 PM Re: Whitney Portal snow camp TR/pics - 12/19/10 [Re: Ethan]
luciano137 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/09/10
Posts: 129
Loc: OC, CA
Originally Posted By: Ethan
thanks for the pics. has anyone been in the backcountry lately? I figured all the weather has kept people in., but I was wondering what the snow pack is like up there. Coming out this coming week to possibly do Mountaineer's Route but the weather looks like its declining and I am unsure of conditions with all this new powder. any updates would be great! thanks.


I personally would not go up the MR yet. I'm guessing avalanche danger is still pretty high.

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#81799 - 12/24/10 05:56 PM Re: Whitney Portal snow camp TR/pics - 12/19/10 [Re: Ethan]
cdarrow Offline
Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 1
Loc: United States
Spent the night at the portal last night, probably about 7 feet of powder up there. Travel was ridiculously slow with the snow shoes once we got up near the portal.


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